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Contact(s):Scott Carter
501-371-4421

T J Williams
LR National Airport
501-537-7359

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Thursday, May 28, 2009

LITTLE ROCK, AIRPORT LEADERS ANNOUNCE PLANS FOR $3.033 MILLION RUNWAY UPGRADE AT AIRPORT

Funds Come from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

(Thursday, May 28, 2009) – “Often the first impression people have of a City is when their plane lands at the airport,” said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. “With the $3,033,358 in rehabilitation of Taxiway D, the Little Rock National Airport is continuing its commitment to providing a great first impression.”

The Mayor’s comments came at a press conference where he and Little Rock National Airport (LIT) officials detailed plans for the expenditure of the $3.033 million that LIT received in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.

“The Little Rock National Airport is a major economic generator for the City and region,” the Mayor said. “Continued growth is imperative. The monies allocated provide ability to grow.”

Airport Executive Director Ron Mathieu echoed the Mayor’s comments. “With growth come project costs that can be prohibitive. Monies from the stimulus allocated to the airport is most welcome as it will allow us to move planned improvement projects forward, most specifically Taxiway D rehabilitation,” Mathieu stated.

“The Little Rock National Airport is committed to providing a safe experience for the flying public,” Mathieu continued. “Sustaining taxiways and runways is one way of ensuring that commitment is honored.”

The rehabilitation of Taxiway D includes the utilization of state-of-the-art LED lighting that uses less energy than standards incandescent lighting. This reduces long-term operating costs and brings the airport closer to “green” operation.

According to Mathieu, Taxiway D is currently in need of repair and rehabilitation and therefore qualifies as a critical project. Due to its current condition, LIT uses the taxiway for light aircraft only. This improvement will allow LIT to upgrade the materials used on the taxiway. The new material will require less maintenance and provide savings as LIT moves forward.

The improved Taxiway D will increase the ability of LIT to handle large aircraft especially in situations where LIT experiences diversions such as weather or operational emergencies, help reduce delays during inclement weather by reducing runway occupancy times, create better flow and ease of movement between main runways and FBOs, and improve safety by reducing the need to cross active runway.

Work is scheduled to begin on or before June 15 and should take approximately 160 calendar days. While work is underway, there will be some disruptions. The west side of airport construction projects conducted simultaneously will reduce taxiway operations and for short period of time will require closure of some runways.

The Mayor noted that the Little Rock National Airport was one of about 3400 airports eligible for funds under the established ARRA criteria. The grants are awarded based on a priority system that ranks airport safety and security, infrastructure, runway safety, increased capacity and environmental problems.

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